Just prior to Christmas, Dec 23 2011, Hey Madam opened their doors for media, friends and family for a preview.
Atlanta Style Examiner (ASE): Miss Chardonnay, thanks so much for inviting me to today’s soft launch, when is the grand opening?
Chardonnay: Thanks for coming and I am so excited to announce that we will be opening on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.
ASE: Very appropiate date. I see your boyfriend is very much involved. How do you split the roles?
Chardonnay: Yes he is. I own the concept and the shop. Brian (Sunder) does the web development, (giggles) manual labor and chips in with finances occassionally.
ASE: He sounds like a keeper. How did you come with the idea of Hey Madam?
Chardonnay: I went to Winston Salem State and originally I planned on majoring in music but my voice gave out so I randomly picked a major…marketing and it worked out for me. I found that I enjoyed the marketing process.
I entered every business plan competition I could while I was in college and I knew that wanted to open a shop. I did have a showroom and learned a lot about the import experience and the need to have products be “market ready.”
I am leasing the space from hair guru Ricci Deforest who operated the space as the Madam CJ Walker Museum.
ASE: You have an amazing stock of Black History artifacts. How did you acquire such a vast collection of vintage records and pictures?
Chardonnay: Ricci left his record collection and vintage record players in my hands. He checks on them from time to time. He had such a good rapport with the neighborhood that people actually brought him records from their own collections.
I found a lot of the pictures and artifacts on eBay and other auction sites. I am constantly looking for items that show our history.
ASE: That is amazing. Where you getting your jewelry from?
Chardonnay: I am importing them from Japan and India.
ASE: So what are your plans for the future?
Chardonnay: Magical Things
ASE: I love it.
Chardonnay: I really want to empower young women and help them launch their products, whether they be in fashion, hair, jewelry etc. I want to have tutorials and open the space for girls’ night out parties.
ASE: Well Chardonnay: It has been a pleasure, you are bubbly over with passion and that is nice to see. Before we go, what is your advice to budding business owners?
Chardonnay: Do your best to not get tied to a job. Whatever industry you are in…know it inside and out. Know the trends and jargons. With funding, tap your inner circle. Especially with a service based business…you should be generating income so you should not need as much start up captial.